Mold is latest health worry on Treasure Island

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A growing number of residents and workers on Treasure Island are complaining about mold in aging buildings on the former Navy base in San Francisco Bay.

People who live and work on the small island, which is part of the city of San Francisco, questioned whether the mold is affecting their health, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday (http://bit.ly/1lq66CX ).

Mold is just the latest health worry for people on Treasure Island, where the soil is contaminated with radiation and toxic substances.

In March, extensive mold growth at an aging firehouse forced firefighters to move to a nearby training facility on the small island.

Landlords and employers are required to clean up mold, which is linked to asthma, allergies and other respiratory issues.

San Francisco officials who oversee housing on Treasure Island say they have acted swiftly when informed of mold and dampness. They do not believe the problem is widespread.

About 15 years ago, San Francisco began housing residents, many of them low-income, in former military housing on Treasure Island, which was a Navy base from 1942 to 1997.

The soil under that housing is known to be contaminated with PCBs, metals and other toxic substances, and radioactive contamination was discovered in the area in 2007, the newspaper reported.

Kathryn Lundgren, who has lived on Treasure Island since 2004, said she has complained for years about mold in both bathrooms of her home, as well as leaks over the kitchen sink. She said her 13-year-old daughter was diagnosed with asthma last year, and she has had breathing and congestion problems in recent months.

“I have reported it maybe 30 times or so over the last 10 years,” Lundgren said.

The property manager is offering to move Lundgren and her family to another unit on the island while it repairs her unit, said Bob Beck, who heads the Treasure Island Development Authority, the city agency that oversees the island.

“We haven’t seen a pervasive (mold) problem. This appears to be an isolated maintenance issue in this unit, but it’s certainly something we would continue to track,” Beck said.

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Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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